10 simple actions for Earth Hour 2018

"For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, the forest is at once
a laboratory, a club and a temple" Robert Baden-Powell

Earth Hour is our chance to switch off and re-connect with the world. At 8.30pm on 24 March wherever you are in the world make a positive change for the earth in all its incredible diversity. There are some 50 million Scouts in the world and together we can have a real impact. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Say no to plastic:
The world throws away about 78 million tons of plastic every year, and a third ends up in the sea. By 2050 there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Get your Scout group together and commit to reducing your use of plastic. Carry your own water bottle, use a bamboo straw, and bring your own shopping bags. Local solutions really can change the world.

Save water: Clean drinking water is vital to life on earth, and since only 3% of all water on earth is freshwater that means it's crucial for us to protect this resource. Unfortunately, pollution is dirtying our water sources and destroying biodiversity - scientists estimate freshwater species declined 76% between 1970 and 2010. Scouts are committed to creating a world where people and nature enjoy clean water and air. Find out where your water comes from and explore your local rivers, streams and lakes. Pick up any rubbish you find. And when you're back home think carefully about how you can cut back on the amount of water that you and your family use.

Get back to nature: Get your group together and go on an expedition to find out more about the plants and animals in your local area. Think about how your senses help you create a picture of the world around you. Maybe you can take a barefoot walk, or put on a blindfold to examine a tree. Think about what you're experiencing and what nature is telling you.

Climate change debate: 2017 was one of the three warmest years on record. There were heatwaves in Europe, floods in South Asia, droughts in parts of Africa, and hugely destructive hurricanes in the US and Caribbean. This year, the Arctic is warmer than it's ever been. Why not host a candlelit debate on climate change and our role in it. How do our choices affect the environment? What's the problem with coal? How clean is clean energy? Test your knowledge!

Nature art: Join your Scout friends on a walk in the outdoors and see what inspires you. What about the shapes of the trees or the leaves, the seeds that have fallen to the ground, or the wildlife? Take a sketchbook and draw, or take photographs and share your most creative shots on social media. And remember, leave only footprints.

Wildlife Chat: Hedgehogs were once common across the UK, but their numbers have plummeted as hedges have been bulldozed and gardens paved over. Orangutans and Asian elephants are under pressure as plantations spread into the tropical forests they've long made their home. Throughout the world, animals often pay the price of man's development. Think about your local area and the creatures that live there. How have human beings affected these animals' habitat, and what can you do to help them?

Garbage Bag Challenge: As Scouts, we're committed to living our lives in a more sustainable way, so what to do about the mountain of rubbish that we all create. Remember the five Rs: Refuse, Repair, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and incorporate them into your daily life. Agree on a waste policy for your next Scout camp, and think about setting up a recycling centre at your Scout meeting place. It might even help you raise money for your activities!

My Carbon Footprint: You've turned your lights off, so what else can you do to reduce your impact on the environment. How do you get to school or work? How often do you buy new things? Have you ever planted a tree? Work out the size of each of your group's carbon footprint and make a commitment to reduce it.

Dealing with disaster: The changing climate has brought more natural disasters - from extremes of heat and cold to bush fires, torrential rain and flooding - devastating communities and the natural environment. Think about the country where you are. What are the risks of natural disaster and what do you need to do to be prepared when disaster strikes? Why not arrange a visit to your local emergency services station to find out how they deal with disaster, and how you might be able to help.

Go plogging: Get your Scout troop together, give everyone a big bin bag and go for a plog! Plogging started in Sweden a couple of years ago; a combination of jogging and collecting litter. It's your chance to get fit and clean up your environment at the same time.

For more information on how to implement these ideas: https://www.scout.org/wsep-activities-factsheets

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